Christmas is the time for giving. It is the time for hope. It is the time when people open up their hearts to help the people around them. While people normally give something to the less fortunate during the Christmas season, others take this to another level. They give kind-hearted people the opportunity make a difference in the lives of others.
Long before the first Christmas Village was set up at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu, Joji Tugonon created her own Christmas village at home over two decades ago. The collection started with seven pieces and she gradually increased her collection each year, adding more and more pieces to the village. It was mainly a personal treat for Joji who once came home with balikbayan boxes full of the miniature models.
It was also providential that her husband is a furniture designer and manufacturer. Clayton designed the Christmas Village, which was initially displayed at their home. In 2008, Joji played host to children with autism after an organization asked her if they can pay a visit. Later, Mrs. Tugonon agreed to have the collection displayed at a public venue. A hotel in Cebu served as the first public venue for the Christmas village, which had a charity component where each house and train was adopted to benefit children with cancer. The Christmas Village raised PHP1.4 million after it was displayed at the Marco Polo Hotel.
SM City Cebu offered to host the Christmas Village of Hope after the Tugonon couple was looking for a more public venue. Already on its sixth year, the Christmas Village of Hope has nearly 700 miniature models and is among the biggest Christmas villages in the country. Some miniature models seem to tell a story. One has a teacher giving a math lesson to some students inside a school while another model shows the Nativity scene. Highlighting the collection of miniature models of the Tugonons this year are different churches around the world.
The Kythe Foundation will be the main beneficiary of the Christmas Village of Hope. The proceeds will be used for the treatment of children with cancer. Have you already checked out the Christmas Village of Hope at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu? It’s on display until January 8, 2017.
“Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
You'll ever be unchanging!
A symbol of goodwill and love
You'll ever be unchanging”
The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree in homes may be traced to the practice of ancient people in hanging evergreen boughs over windows and doors. They believed that evergreens kept away ghosts and evil spirits. Pagans also used the branches of pine trees as decoration for winter solstice. It gave them hope and allowed them to look forward to spring.
Fir trees were also used in decorating temples during the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia. On the other hand, Christians consider the fir tree as a symbol of the Tree of Life. Edible items, like fruits and nuts, were initially used to decorate these trees. In the 18th century, candles were used to light up the trees. Christmas lights eventually replaced them with the widespread use of electricity. A star or an angel is normally placed on top of the tree to represent the star of Bethlehem or the angel Gabriel. The modern Christmas tree used in the United States is normally an evergreen conifer.
While a number of trees can be used as Christmas trees in the Philippines, most of the trees set up inside the homes of Filipinos are made of PVC plastic. These are decorated by colorful ornaments symbolizing the spirit of Christmas. The same tradition has also been adopted by malls and other business establishments around the Queen City of the South.
The setting up of Christmas trees in the major malls in Metro Cebu has become a tradition each year. In fact, Cebuanos look forward to these Christmas trees and would normally have their pictures taken in front of these gigantic Christmas decorations. It has become a tradition of sorts among Cebuanos to pose in front of the Christmas trees as soon as they are set up in the different malls in the city.
Did you already have your picture taken in front of the Christmas trees in the malls? Tell us about it on the comments section below.
The restaurant industry in the Queen City of the South has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade of so with the increasing population in the city. Major fast food brands like McDonald’s, Jollibee and Burger King along with home-grown companies like Orange Brutus are competing to sate the discriminating taste buds of Cebuanos. But, before these quick service restaurants started to sprout like mushrooms around the city there was Snowsheen Restaurant.
Longtime residents of Cebu have some fond memories of Snowsheen Restaurant. It was one of the places where people would go to for a special family gathering. As a restaurant serving Chinese food, one can find different types of Chinese dishes aimed at tickling the taste buds of Cebuanos. People would look forward to the trip to the restaurant to get a taste of their pancit canton. On the other hand, others would drop by Snowsheen Restaurant for their pancit lomi.
The food items at the restaurant are what make people keep coming back for more. While the overall ambiance of the restaurant may need a major renovation, it still continues to attract the attention of diners wanting to find a place to eat. Located along Osmeña Boulevard, Snowsheen Restaurant is within walking distance from the commercial district of the city.
The prices of the menu items at the restaurant are comparable to the items found in major fast food restaurants in the metropolis. The pancit canton, which is considered the best in the city, is priced at PHP 105 while the pancit lomi is priced at PHP 85. The place also offers chop suey, patotem with asparagus (duck with asparagus), and bird’s nest soup with quail egg.
Being the center of trade, industry and education in the Visayas area, the Queen City of the South is home to a number of business establishments catering to the different needs of the residents. Even as many of the residents prefer eating at quick service restaurants in the city, there are some long-time Cebu residents who prefer dropping by established restaurants like the Snowsheen Restaurant . What are your memories about the Snowsheen Restaurant? Tell us about it on the comments section below.
Cebu has a number of local delicacies that visitors will find delectable enough to take home for the folks at home. While these delicacies are available in a number of supermarkets and groceries in the city, there may be instances when visitors may decide to do some last-minute shopping for pasalubong items. In these situations, they may find themselves in a bind since most groceries and supermarkets open at around 9:00 AM. If they have a flight at around 10:00 AM, they may be cutting it close if they wait for the supermarkets to open. But, there is one pasalubong center located in Fuente Osmeña where they can buy their favorite Cebuano delicacies as early as 8:00 AM, Shamrock Bakery and Restaurant.
The bakery was originally located in Minglanilla and a small store was set up in Plaza Hamabar. In 2009, the store was relocated to the corner of V. Gullas and Mabini Streets. The products of the bakery were displayed in the store along with other Cebuano delicacies, like the Peanut Browas of Lola Pureza.
The Fuente Osmeña location was established as a 28-room pension house with a pasalubong center located at the ground floor. The pasalubong center sells the Otap, Galletas de Huevos and Barquillos of the company. In addition, the store also sells the Peanut Browas, Butterscotch and Mini Mamon of Lola Pureza.
The company aims to provide for the needs of its customers through the Cebuano delicacies they offer to visitors of the Queen City of the South. The pension house was established to complement the products of the company as well as the other pasalubong items available at the store.
Have you visited the Fuente location of Shamrock Bakery and Restaurant already? What were the pasalubong items you bought? Tell us about it on the comments section below.
The Philippines has 7,107 islands and a good number of these islands can be considered paradises for nature lovers. Cebu has its share of these hidden Edens with some of them made into marine sanctuaries. One of these islands is Caohagan Island.
Caohagan Island hosts the Caohagan Island Marine Sanctuary, which is located along its coastline. Due to this, the waters around the island are rich in marine life. To ensure the protection of the area, coastal patrolmen are tasked in monitoring the waters. These patrols were organized by the residents of the island.
The marine sanctuary was created upon the request of the residents of the island. It was established with the help of the Lapu-Lapu City government, the City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, OceanCare Advocates Inc, Amores Charities Inc and ScubaStar Dive Services.
Activities on Caohagan Island
Since the island has a rich marine life, one of the activities can do is snorkeling. You will be able to see the different fishes in the area. If you are into underwater photography, Caohagan Island will be a good place to practice this hobby. Swimming is also another leisure activity you can do at the island. The sand bar on the island is the best place to swim. The waters around the island are kept clean by the residents themselves. Due to this, the waters are crystal clear. The beach is located within the lagoon area of the island, which is on the opposite side from where the outrigger boats normally dock. Cottages are also available for rent.
Getting to Caohagan Island
Going to Caohagan Island requires riding on an outrigger boat. There are a number of tour operators and even boat owners in Maribago in Mactan where visitors can rent a boat. These tour operators have also included the island on their island-hopping activities for tourists.
Caohagan Island is just one of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines and it has maintained its pristine beauty due to the cooperation of the residents of the island. This shows how locals can contribute to ensure the protection of our marine life. Have you visited Caohagan Island already? Tell us about your experience on the comments section below.
Hot springs are produced when groundwater is geo-thermally heated and rises up the crust of the Earth. The island of Cebu has a number of these natural wonders and one of these is the Mainit Hot Spring in the southern town of Malabuyoc.
The town of Malabuyoc is located in the southwestern part of the island. While it may not be as visible on a regular tourist’s radar, the town does offer a number of interesting places to visit. The Mainit Hot Springs is one of these places. “Mainit” is the Cebuano word for hot.
The source of the spring is actually within the riverbed and has existed for the longest time. The area was only developed in 2013 when local government built pools at the source. The source itself is in the middle of the river and local residents used to take a dip in the warm water of the river. The town built four pools to make it easier for visitors to soak their tired bodies and rejuvenate themselves.
The local government built four pools with different temperatures. The temperature of the hottest pool is a little over 42 degrees Celsius while the least warm has a temperature of nearly 36 degrees Celsius. The location of the spring is close to a number of waterfalls, including the Montañeza Falls.
Getting to the Mainit Hot Spring
The journey to the Mainit Hot Spring in Malabuyoc starts at the Cebu South Bus terminal. You need to hop on a bus bound for Bato via Barili and tell the driver to drop you off at the town. The trip takes around four to five hours, depending on the traffic. Since the hot spring is in the interior part of the town, you will have to ride a motorcycle for hire to get to the place.
The Mainit Hot Spring is one of the natural wonders that the town of Malabuyoc can be proud of. It is definitely one place to visit if you find yourself in the town of Malabuyoc.
Lola Pureza's Peanut Browas, a taste of old Cebu.
Available in leading supermarkets and pasalubong shops.